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Treating Relationship Power and Aggression
In the last track, we discussed the four rationalized responses of Communication Magic, Hiding Pain, He Doesn't Mean It, and I'm Too Sensitive.
this track... as I discuss five additional rationalized responses, think of a client
you are currently treating and assess if any of the accompanying interventions would be appropriate for your next session.
Barbara agreed to attend a psychodrama group held by a colleague. The group was attended by three other women who had also experienced controlling, abusive relationships. Group members performed the roles of Charles as well as taking the roles of "negative self-talk" and "old messages from her parents." This gave Barbara an opportunity to act out, as well as see her inner feelings acted out, and to realize the positives in her relationship with Charles truly did not outweigh the negatives. Even though Barbara is still with Charles, the frequency and intensity of her rationalizations have decreased.
attending several sessions of the psychodrama group, Barbara felt she wanted to
hold Charles accountable for his behavior. The psychodrama group help Barbara
to see the pain Charles caused and the effect her own lack of assertiveness.
After several sessions I explored with Deborah the fact that, "All you can do is set limits on your own behavior, not Eric's."
I explained to Deborah that, although Eric's verbal abuse provokes her actions, she decides how she acts. Deborah began to realize she is responsible for her response. Here's a technique I used to drive home to Deborah the point that effective confrontations require respect, tact, and patience. And, no external motivation can alter Eric's behavior.
Transactional Analysis - 3 Communication Styles
1. The Parent style of communication includes words and behaviors that are critical, domineering, judgmental, demanding, and demeaning. The parent style of communication can also be, caring, supportive, and compassionate.
2. The Adult style of communication includes words and behaviors that are, specific, factual, inquisitive, confident, and informative.
3. In the Child style of communication, children often fight fire with fire. Children have yet to develop the communication skills of an adult. The child style of communication includes words and behaviors that are creative, impulsive, fun-loving, self-centered, rebellious, and aggressive.
I explained each of the three styles have a place in your relationship with Eric. However, after some role playing, it became clear to Deborah that she had been communicating with Eric in the Child style, being emotional, impulsive, rebellious, and aggressive.
Do you have a client you are currently treating that may benefit for the TA worksheets found in the Course Manual to explore their Child style of communication in rationalizing, "I am fighting fire with fire"?
Peer-Reviewed Journal Article References:
Figueredo, A. J., Jacobs, W. J., Gladden, P. R., Bianchi, J., Patch, E. A., Kavanagh, P. S., Beck, C. J. A., Sotomayor-Peterson, M., Jiang, Y., & Li, N. P. (2018). Intimate partner violence, interpersonal aggression, and life history strategy. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 12(1), 1–31.
Iverson, K. M., Gradus, J. L., Resick, P. A., Suvak, M. K., Smith, K. F., & Monson, C. M. (2011). Cognitive–behavioral therapy for PTSD and depression symptoms reduces risk for future intimate partner violence among interpersonal trauma survivors. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 79(2), 193–202.
Marshall, A. D., Jones, D. E., & Feinberg, M. E. (2011). Enduring vulnerabilities, relationship attributions, and couple conflict: An integrative model of the occurrence and frequency of intimate partner violence. Journal of Family Psychology, 25(5), 709–718.
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